We spent December 24 – January 1 in the beautiful country of Mexico. We spent the majority of our stay in Merida, Yucatan. We had a great time and we’d like to ensure everyone that Mexico IS a safe place to visit. Be aware of the specific locations, travel warnings, and known issues in certain areas. These are the same precautions you should take when visiting any location. Do your research before any trip to make sure you are a responsible and safe traveler. We never felt unsafe in Mexico and there is so much to see there. We look forward to returning and checking out different regions next time. It’s a close country that is inexpensive to visit and it has a lot to offer in culture, music, food, history, hospitality, and more.
The Original Plan
We planned to go to Playa del Carmen for our vacation. We were going to take the ADO bus from the airport in Cancun down to the stop in Playa, and then take a taxi to the AirBnB. However, the weather forecast changed our minds. It was supposed to rain almost the entire time we were there. We canceled the original location and went to Merida instead. Because of this, we had to rent a car and drive 4 hours from the airport to our destination.
We flew with Delta Airlines and loved the trip. It was a simple nonstop flight from Orlando International to Cancun International. We definitely recommend Delta after this experience. No problems at all and the app works well for tracking flight information. Landing in Cancun was a breeze and when we stepped outside, we were greeted by plenty of taxi drivers and rental companies along with music, mariachi singers, and margaritas for sale. They definitely want you to get the party started right away.
Do NOT rent a car ahead of time. We rented a car through Expedia for about $250, only to be told when we got there that the company needed another $700 for insurance plus a hold of $4,000 on a credit card. We left and went with another company from the airport. We rented a car there for $400 with a hold of only $200. We highly recommend going this route. Confirm that there is no additional cost for insurance and what the hold will be before moving forward with any rental company. There are plenty of companies and cars available, so just wait until you land. Having a car is ideal in Merida because of the close proximity to visit other locations, plus parking is easy and plentiful.
All gas stations in Mexico, to our knowledge, are full service. This means, you pull up, tell the attendant to fill it up (llenar) or give the amount in pesos that you’d like. They often clean the windows for free as well. We had to stop for gas when we first got our rental car and we were scammed, unfortunately. Do not let this happen to you. If your card is declined, ALWAYS get a receipt. If you pay in cash, ALWAYS get a receipt. This way, if anything shows up incorrectly through your bank, you have proof to show. #1 – Make sure the pump is a 0.00 when the attendant begins to fill. #2- Check the price and make sure you are correctly charged. #3- If you pay in cash, read the number aloud of the amount you are giving and make sure you get the correct amount back. #4- Get a receipt. Out of the multiple times we got gas, we only ran into a problem at one. The attendant said our card was declined, so we paid in cash. Not only was the card actually charged, but the attendant also tried to give us 100 pesos ($5 USD) less than we deserved. Lesson learned the hard way.
A four hour drive hardly counts as a roadtrip, but we did just land and were hungry for some food so we stopped into a convenience store and picked up some Pake Taxo. Best comparison is Munchies in our opinion. It is a bag of multiple different chips. Our favorite was the blue bag, cheese flavors. It was a great way to try a couple new things. We also picked up some Toronja Penafiel (carbonated grapefruit drink) and Cowboy Cocktail from Arizona Tea, which was a flavor we had never seen before. Both were pretty good.
We stayed in three different locations during vacation. First, we stayed at an AirBnB in Merida that was set up as a hostel. There were only two other guests while we were there, and we only saw them twice. It was a relaxing location, only 15 minutes from downtown. We then stayed a night in Valladolid in a similar type of location. We enjoyed the hammock in the room there. Last, we stayed a night in Cancun in a private room of a house. This type of stay feels the most intrusive because you never know what the host really expects of you and there isn’t much privacy. However for this stay, it was great because we were only there for New Year’s Eve and we were the only ones there. We love staying at AirBnBs because they provide a different type of experience. We were able to experience our vacation in a way that felt more authentic. It was a great way to stay in Mexico.